by phil - April 9th, 2017 8:56 am
What a first quarter!
When we last reviewed, back on Jan 22nd, the S&P closed at 2,271 and we were generally playing for a flat market and worried that we might be a bit too bearish but, now that the S&P is at 2,362 (up 4%), we're a lot more comfortable with a more bearish stance – albeit after adding a few bullish positions along the way.
Before we get into a review I want to make a very important point. Our Options Opportunity Portfolio (OOP) was last reviewed on March 15th, and it's a self-contained portfolio, with the hedges right alongside the long-term positions. As I've noted on many occasions, when you have a well-balanced portfolio and you are practicing our system of BEING THE HOUSE – Not the Gambler, you shouldn't have to do much from month to month (see last year's Forbes interview for a good explanation).
We did add 4 bullish trades in the last two weeks (ATI, CDE, CHK & NLY) and, on the 15th, we called for 2 of our positions to be adjusted and one was closed (SONC) – that's it. On March 15th our OOP was at $270,475 and, as of Friday's close, we're at $278,177 – up $7,702, which is 7.7% of our original $100,000 start (8/8/15) and that's just fine for two week's "work", isn't it?
Investing doesn't have to be stressful – certainly not if you are on the house side of the table. Mostly it's a matter of keeping ourselves well-balanced and letting the premiums we sold run down over time – that's what casinos do and they seem to do very well for themselves!
You just need to accept the fact that betting on the markets is no better than betting on casino games – you may win or you may lose but, over time, the odds are rigged against you – especially with options so, logically, if we SELL options to suckers who think they can beat the house – we'll do very well! That's it – that's the whole secret to our success.…
by phil - March 5th, 2017 8:51 am
Two weeks ago we began compiling our 2017 Watch List.
A Watch List is not a Buy List, a Watch List is a list of stocks we'd LIKE to buy – IF they get cheaper. Of course that's true of every stock but these are stocks we consider good values where they are now and are ALMOST cheap enough for us to want to get in and we want to be ready when they do give us a good entry – so we watch them!
I like the Finviz charts because they constantly update, so any time you refresh this post, the charts will be updated to the day. I've also put dates on the last round of picks because we've had a lot of movement since 2/17 and some of the stocks have gone higher (we are not chasting) and a couple have gotten cheaper and those we are likely to move on.
The trading notes are the best idea we have AT THE TIME the stock is added to our list – our goal is to get a BETTER trade set-up than the one we highlight, NOT the one we are discussing – those are for reference purposes. For example, Target (TGT) took a nice dive on earnings and are much cheaper now ($57.35) than the $65.55 we were watching them at. $55 was our target for short puts but NOW you can sell the 2019 $55 puts for $7.25, $2 (40%) better than they were pre-earnings.
Even better, we can collect the $5.20 we wanted by selling the 2019 $50 puts and we will sell 10 of those in the LTP (buying back our 5 short Jan $67.50 puts) and now we can add 10 2019 $55 ($7.60)/65 ($3.60) bull call spreads for $4 which, as a new trade, is a net credit of $1.20 per contract ($1,200) which means the worst case is owning TGT for net $48.80 – THOSE are the kind of trades we love to be in!
"The best thing that happens to us is when a great company gets into temporary trouble…We want to buy
by phil - February 20th, 2017 7:45 am
The pressure is on!
Top Trades has become one of Philstockworld's most popular Memberships and that's a shame because I actually hate trading services that just give out trade ideas. Unfortunately, that's what the market demands and, though Top Trade Members miss out on the trading education and deep discussions we have in our Live Member Chat Room, they usually do get a lot of great trades.
That is, until September they did! In our first year of Top Trades, beginning in August of 2015, 96 out of 119 Trade Ideas (80.6%) were immediate winners and half of the initial losers turned around over time and became winners as well. Perhaps it was shooting fish in a barrel in a bull market. Unfortunately, our second year got off to a rough start, with just 7 of our 16 ideas in September and October winning by Dec 10th (we have to give them some time before reviewing). Of those 9 losing trades:
- ERIC is improved but still red
- TEVA has not improved
- MON is now a winner
- CMG is a home run
- SGYP is a huge winner
- LL got worse
- TASR is now a winner
- TWTR still in the red
- JO was a winner but now a loser again (wild swings)
So 4 of our 5 losers are now winners and these are long-term trades, for the most part – it's not like we can expect every one to win immediately. The point is that these reviews are simply initial snapshots to see how we're doing – in case our trade need adjustments in their early stages – they are far from the final word on these trades. In this month's review, we will pick up in November and review the next two months.
The secret to our success in Top Trades is PATIENCE!!! Patience is the hardest thing we try to teach our Members at Philstockworld as it tends to take years of practice and the nice thing about the Top Trades Membership is that you don't have a choice – we make…
by phil - January 22nd, 2017 6:38 pm
We're off to a great start!
Only 20 days into the new year and, since our last review, all 4 of our Member Portfolios have added substantial gains as our bets on a flatlining market are paying off:
- Our Options Opportunity Portfolio (OOP) is up $9,352 (9.3%), at $246,577, which is up 148.6% since its 8/8/15 inception – our newest portfolio.
- Our Butterfly Portfolio is up $7,816 (7.8%) at $331,408, which is up 231.4% since its 7/29/13 inception.
- Our Short-Terrm Portfolio (STP) is up $9,222 (9%) at $484,298 which is up 375.1% since its 11/26/13 inception.
- Our Long-Term Portfolio (LTP) has jumped 29,649 (6%) to $1,209,372, which is up 141.9% since its 11/26/13 inception.
In addition to our 4 virtual tracking portfolios, we also have our Top Trade Ideas, which do not go into a portfolio but I will do a review of those next week. For the first time ever, our last two Top Trade Ideas were hedges – that should tell you something about my mindset for the market going forward.
All of our Member portfolios are 75-90% CASH!!! at the moment and using 1/4-1/2 margin – leaving us plenty of room to adjust if the market does turn sour – something I feel is very likely to happen in the next two months and yes, I know I've said this before but, really, how much over our 2,100 top call on the S&P are we? It's at 2,262, so we're 162 points over what I called a value top and that's 7.7% but, in fairness, the Dollar is down 3% and that explains most of it.
The rest of the pop comes from runaway expections from the Trump Presidency and yes, he will lower the Corporate Tax Rate but Corporations only pay 12% on avergage now – how low can they really go? More pop came from the Banking Sector, where deregulation expections have added 20% to that index but we saw what deregulated Banks did to themselves under Bush – why is that a good thing? And, of course, rising oil prices have boosted the Energy…
by phil - January 1st, 2017 7:32 am
Happy New Year!
It's been a fantastic year for our primary, paired portflios with the Short-Term Portfolio finishing 2016 at $475,076 (up 375%) while our Long-Term Portfolio came in Friday at $1,179,723 (up 136%) for a grand total of $1,654,766, a gain of $1,154,766 (192%) from our $600,000 start back on 11/26/13. We're up $109,345 since our pre-election review on 11/6 - that's 10% in two months and, into December options expirations, we cashed in some more winners, bringing us to over $900,000 in cash (80%) into the holidays, a position we call "Cashy and Cautious".
On the whole, 2016 went about as well as expected. Last December, our paired portfolios stood at $1,004,162 so we've added 65% in 2016 and we were, fortunately, Cashy and Cautious into last January too because we were able to take full advantage of the Q1 correction in 2016. I strongly urge going over our early 2016 positions – most of them are still in our portfolios and the ones that changed make for an interesting watch list like ANTM, BHI, BID, BP, CHL, CIM, ECA, INTC, KORS, MYL, RIG, STWD, SWKS, TGT, WFM, WYNN – to name a few.
Our value-oriented strategies dictate we get out of even the best stocks when they become over-priced but that doesn't mean we don't want to get back into them when they calm down! Value investing is all about patience, even when we like a stock, we still prefer to scale into the position – just in case we're a bit early… They also dictate we regularly review and contemplate our positions and, when necessary, sit on the sidelines.
Our two smaller portfolios are self-hedging but also with a good deal of cash on the side in this very uncertain market. Our Options Opportunity Portfolio closed out the year at $237,225 (up 137%) and that's up $131,739 (132%) from $105,486 in our 12/7/15 review. That portfolio only began on August 8th of 2015 and we got off to a rough start but more than made up for it in 2016. Finally, our Butterfly Portfolio came in at $338,224 (up 238%) and that's a gain of $157,149…
by phil - December 10th, 2016 6:08 am
Wow, what a market!
When we left off our last Top Trade Review, we had just completed our first year of Top Trades with 119 trade ideas sent out by alert and, as of our reviews (we don't track them otherwise), 96 (80.6%) of them were winners. How can we have 96 winners out of 119 in a year? Well, for one thing our Top Trades are generally bullish and it's been a good year for the bulls and, for another thing, because we utilize our very excellent system of "Being the House – NOT the Gambler" and using options to hedge our positions and sell premium.
The other secret to our success in Top Trades is PATIENCE!!! Patience is the hardest thing we try to teach our Members at Philstockworld as it tends to take years of practice and the nice thing about the Top Trades Membership is that you don't have a choice – we make our picks ONLY when we see a nice opportunity and if that's once a week, twice a week or just once a month – we don't care – we only make picks that have excellent chances of making a profit – 80% chances going by our first year's performance…
Of course, when you are reading our reviews, those losing trades are often still great opportunities as we're long-term VALUE investors and it's a bit arbitrary when we do a review whether or not our idea has caught on yet. Our last review was on Oct 22nd and, at the time, we still liked Chipotle (CMG), which has since popped 10%, Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI), which is now up 20%, Pearson (PSO), which gained 10% and S&P Ultra-Shorts (SDS) as a hedge, which is down 10% (as expected if the longs are winning).
So here we are, 6 weeks later and 3 of our 4 losers (75%) have turned into winners already – who says picking stocks is hard? With that being said, let's see how September and October's pics panned out and remember – keep an eye on the losers!
by phil - November 6th, 2016 7:48 am
That's up $945,421 (157%) in just under 3 years (11/26/2013) from our original $600,000 allocation on our paired portfolios. We are, however, down $27,008 (1.7%) from our September high (reviewed 9/30) and that's just fine as our portfolios are about 80% CASH!!! and very defensive into the election uncertainty. When you make 157% in 3 years, you need to know how to protect it.
We're well ahead of the market, the S&P was at 2,180 on the close of Sept 2nd and Friday we closed at 2,085 so down 95 points is 4.3% and falling at less than 1/2 the rate of the market is all we can hope for when we have so many leveraged positions. Of course, some of our bigger hedges don't kick in until the market is down more than 5% and, depending on the outcome of Tuesday's election – we may be seeing that and much more.
Other than our paired Long-Term and Short-Term Portfolios (and the STP is 20% of the LTP and it's main function is to protect our Long-Term positions), our two self-hedging portfolios are doing surprisingly well. Our $100,000 Options Opportunity Portfolio finished the week at $211,332 and that's up $111,332 (111%) in one year and 3 months since we began it. In our September 3rd Review, the OOP was at $189,027 so we've gained $22,105 in two months – not bad with hardly any changes.
Finally, our steadiest and oldest portfolio, the Butterfly Portfolio, finished the week at $296,092, up $196,092 from our $100,000 start on 7/29/13. That's up $8,212 since our 9/3 review and that's exactly what the Butterfly Portfolio is designed to do, grind out a steady income in virtually all market conditions.
The Butterfly Portfolio is very low-touch, fantastic for retired investors who don't want to watch the market every day – or every week for that matter. In fact, no new positions were added in the last two months – only adjustments the existing positions, made once a month ahead of option expirations.
PSW Members can access the full portfolio and positions HERE.
by phil - October 22nd, 2016 8:22 am
Who says we're not bullish?
While we are, certainly, cautious on the market and well-hedged (just in case), we certainly do seem to find a lot of bullish positions to take. That's because we're VALUE INVESTORS and there is almost always something of value to buy in any kind of market and our Top Trades are, of course, our top value picks – the ones we feel most confident in.
In our first year, our Top Trade Ideas had an astounding 81.1% winning percentage with 86 out of 106 trades making money within a few months. That's without even adjusting them. We do not have a portfolio for Top Trades, we just do these reviews but many of our Top Trade Ideas do end up in one of our 4 Member Portfolios.
Our August review took us through July 12th and July 12th was the last Top Trade Idea we had until August because I REALLY didn't trust the market in mid-July so this month, we'll just be reviewing our August trades as we like to give Sept time to cook before reviewing those. We had a surprising amount of trade ideas in August though. Our 15 May, June and July picks had 11 winners but, unfortunately, that actually bought down our percentage!
Of course, when you are reading our reviews, those losing trades are often still opportunities. CMG, CBI, PSO and SDS are all plays we still like from the last review – they are simply late bloomers! SDS, in fact, is a hedge – it's not supposed to win if the others are doing well but we still count it as a loss.
Top Trade Alerts come from our Live Member Chat Room at Philstockworld and represent a very small portion of our trade ideas but they are a fair representation of applying our "Be the House – NOT the Gambler" strategy and you can learn a lot by reviewing the performance of these trades through up and down markets over the course of a year. All PSW Basic and Premium Members have Top Trade Access (just make sure your smart phone number is in the box here if you want text alerts in addition to our EMail alerts).
by phil - September 3rd, 2016 8:10 am
That's up from our $600,000 start on our paired portfolios in just under 3 years (November anniversary) and, more importantly, up $52,975 (8.8%) since our July 4th review – not bad for 2 months where we were mostly playing defense!
We were wrong (so far) to heavily hedge our Short-Term Portfolio, which lost $22,581 as our hedges tended to expire worthless but having those hedges in place allowed us not to touch our Long-Term Portfolio positions, which gained $73,902 almost without touching our bullish positions all summer. That's right, if you had just read our review on July 4th and copied our Long-Term Portfolio positions, which only had a net market value of $123,955 at the time (we are 80% in cash), they are now net $186,397 (as of Friday's close) - up $62,442 (50%) against the cash requirement (and the LTP is currently using $339,750 in margin so the return on margin was 18% on margin in 2 months).
The reason some of the numbers are different is we did the individual reviews during the week and Friday's close was a little different but not very. Also, it's very important to note that the LTP is, by nature, 100% bullish while it is the responsibility of the STP to carry our protective hedges so the STP is SUPPOSED to lose money when the LTP is making money – that is it's very sad fate. Also, I will repeat our note from last time as it is still, obviously, very relevant:
To you day traders out there – I implore you - please read the July, April and December reviews and look over those positions and check out those same positions 3 months later and CONSIDER – please consider – that day-trading may not be the best way to play the market. Yes, the LTP goes up and down too but, when it's down, we have cash on the side to buy bigger positions (which is what we did last year) while they are cheap. Since those positions are INVESTMENTS, we end up with something of great value when the market comes back.
by phil - August 27th, 2016 8:31 am
The hits just keep on coming.
When we left off in June, our Top Trades had 70 winners out of 91 trade ideas but 5 of those trade ideas were for Lumber Liquidators (yes, I liked them that much) and they are all winners now so our winning percentage has jumped to 75 of 91 (82%) – not bad! Of course, a few of the other losers have turned around too but LL was one I simply pounded the table on (which is why I picked them 5 times) so I will move those to the win column. For the rest – wherever we are when we do our review (usually 2 or 3 months later) is where we mark it.
Our June review took us to the end of April, for example, where we had 16 winners and only two losers but one of those losers was a Chevron (CVX) short, who subsequently took a nice dive and the other was SuperValue, which was a 2018 $3/5 bull call spread with short $5 puts and we bought 20 for $880 on March 3rd and, as of our June 5th review, they were $670, down $210 for our other loss of the period.
Now SVU is back at $5.36 and the spread is $1.25 and the short puts are $1 so net $25 x 20 contracts is $500 – still a loser (worse, actually) but what a great trade as all SVU has to do is hold $5 through Jan 2018 and the trade returns $4,000 – that would be a $3,500 gain from here (700%), so still great as a new trade!
That's why it pays to read our Portfolio Review section over at Philstockworld – many hidden gems there – especially in our "losing" trades – rare though they may be! That's because we're FUNDAMENTAL investors and, while the charts may go against us for some period of time, if we get the fundamentals right we know that, at some point, the market usually catches on to what we're seeing.